Nestled along the edge of Nova Scotia lies the windswept coast of Cape Breton, an island rich in coal mining history, and the home of independent filmmaker, author and podcaster, Kenn Crawford. Just a few dozen yards up the street from his house a section of bank succumbed to the relentless pounding of the Atlantic Ocean and tumbled into the sea, forever dividing the road above into two smaller, dead-end streets. Crawford nicknamed the collapsed section as simply: the broken road.
Crawford’s zombie thriller, DEAD HUNT, was originally written as a screenplay back in the early 2000’s but he was unable to film it on a small budget. The screenplay collected virtual dust on his hard drive until 2009 when he rewrote it as a novel. The full-cast audio-book version of his novel, released in 2010, received more than 88,000 downloads in the first four months of it’s debut. Eight years later it still averages between 1,300 and 2,500 monthly downloads.
Yet despite it’s popularity, the fact that it was supposed to be a movie haunted Crawford so he began writing a new Dead Hunt screenplay. Word spread quickly of his intentions to film a zombie movie and his website garnered more than 10,000 hits in two days, and he received close to 500 emails from people wanting to be involved. The hype around a Dead Hunt movie grew, grabbing the attention of local radio stations and newspapers who requested interviews.
“It’s getting too big, too fast,” Crawford confided in his friends. “I need to take a breath and figure out whether or not I can pull this off.”
He ultimately decided that the story and the fans of Dead Hunt would be best served if he postponed filming and focused on getting more filmmaking experience. He created Coal Dust Town Productions, named after the Cape Breton coal-mining song he composed titled Coal Dust Town, and in just over a year he wrote and directed more than half a dozen short films and seven episodes of a web-series. He shot several music videos, was hired to shoot footage for Cape Breton University, and he filmed several commercials for local businesses, including two commercials for an award-winning game.
Two years into his filmmaking journey he noticed people still referred to his production company as “Coal Town” or some other variation.
“I like the name,” Crawford explained, “but if people keep getting it wrong it’s time for a change.” One day, while talking to his fiance, he said he was walking past the broken road, and the proverbial light bulb lit up… He found the name he was looking for and BROKEN ROAD PICTURES was born.
Dan Yakimchuk’s THE ROSE will be the first film released under the BROKEN ROAD banner. Crawford has several more projects in various stages of production but DEAD HUNT, along with FOR ELIZABETH, the film he wrote for his younger sister who lost her battle to cancer, are the two films that are near and dear to his heart. Pre-production and casting for FOR ELIZABETH will begin within the next couple of months and he hopes to start principal photography for DEAD HUNT in the summer of 2018.